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‘We want to make politics a bit more serious’

PPRC chairman says

September 2, 2021

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

Chairman Abdulai Masiambay Bangura

Following recent claims by the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP) that the proposed increment of registration fees by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) is a deliberate ploy to close political and democratic space in the country, chairman of the commission has reacted that they wanted to make politics a bit more serious in Sierra Leone.

Currently, the commission is reviewing it Act and one of the recommendations is that registration fees for political parties would increase from Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Leones (Le 2,500,000) to One Hundred Million Leones (Le 100,000,000).

In his reaction, Abdulai Masiambay,who was speaking on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation Morning Coffee programme, stated that ,“PPRC wants to make politics a little bit more serious than it is now, hence the PPRC has recommended a registration fees of One Hundred Million Leones (Le 100,000,000) and one third of the above money for a re-registration of  a political party. Registration for the formation of political party in Sierra Leone is just Le 2,500,000 which is equivalent to USSD 250. In fact, that is laughable, other neighbouring countries including The Gambia are paying huge sum to register a party.”

He argued that the commission has not imposed any increment of registration fees, nor have they imposed fees for re-registration of political parties, but that they have only made a recommendation on that.

“We as commission have only made some recommendations which are not limited to re-registration fees and increment of fees for registration of political parties. Those recommendations we made were as a result of consultant given to us and the NEC by the European Union (EU) and based on apprised we have submitted our report to the relevant authorities,” he explained

He noted that only parliament has that mandate to effect the increment, adding that the commission was currently on a legal review and still on consultation; therefore he wouldn’t want to comment on any of the amendment of the Act that set up the PPRC until after having a validation meeting with political parties.

He noted that he was expecting political parties to wait until validation period so that they would have deliberation on the proposed recommendation, instead of going to the media to make claims.

He said all the political parties in the country are not maintaining internal democracy and that some executive leaders and members of political parties have got their term expired and have not called a conference or convention to renew their mandates.

COPPP has also in May 30th this year accused the PPRC of creating bad blood among political parties as a deliberate ploy to bring division among them.

The accusation was extended to the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP) of inserting their paid-up members into key positions at  PPRC and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as part of their policy to take control of the system of governance.

The PPRC commissioner denied all those claims and referred to them as baseless.

Reacting to claims made by COPPP that PPRC has refused to give them the opportunity to dialogue despite several letters written to the commission, commissioner Bangura said in his eyes, COPPP hadn’t only disrespected him, but also the commission by writing them a letter with Nfagie Kabba being a signatory representing the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) in the letter.

He said the commission had since ruled against Nfagie Kabba for wrongfully holding position at the ADP, adding that as per the commission’s ruling, Kabba is not recognized as the deputy leader of the ADP or as any executive member.

He added that PPRC’s acting on such letter would have been tantamount to the commission negating its own ruling, adding that some other signatories of COPPP have officially resigned from the different political parties they claim to represent.

He disclosed that some members of those 13 political parties have issues with the leadership of the various parties they purported to belong to,and that the commission wouldn’t want to oppose any of their mandate especially the one which has to do with maintaining cohesion and keeping all political parties intact.

The PPRC boss also said that he had officially replied COPPP that the commission would never have a dialogue with them if NFagie Kabba continues signing on behalf of ADP, adding that PPRC had even attached a copy of the document that ruled against Kabba, but COPPP didn’t seem to respect PPRC’s decision.

He urged that every law abiding political party must abide by the PPRC ruling, maintaining that Kabba and others whom the ruling had affected were at liberty to go to court and challenge the matter, rather than being defiant to the PPRC decision.

He said some members representing political parties in COPPP are not in the capacity to hold those distinguish positions because of issues that have to do with their legality in those parties they represent.

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